Powerful imaging equipment commissioned at Apollo

Special Correspondent

320 Slice Computed Tomography Scanner can scan heart in half-a-second

CHENNAI: Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, has installed a state-of-the-art imaging equipment, the 320 Slice Computed Tomography Scanner, which is capable of scanning the entire heart in just half-a-second.

Health Minister M.R.K. Panneerselvam launched the machine at a function at the Apollo Heart Centre on Greams Road on Thursday. The equipment is the first of its kind to be installed in India. Touted as the technology of the future, the 320 Slice Computed Tomography Scanner has tremendous advantages over its modern predecessors, all of which needed multiple rotations of the x-ray fitted gantry to grab the three-dimensional images of human organs. With the 320 Slice CT, lower doses of radiation are used, with just a single rotation needed to grab accurate images of the organs, doctors say.

“Every frame gives five times more coverage than the 64-slice CT,” said Robert Kwok, Chief Consultant Radiologist, Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Singapore. “It is a completely new generation of imaging tools that allows us to do what we have never done before,” he explained, conceding that some of its applications may only be utilised in future.

Rochita Venkataramanan, consultant radiologist, Apollo Hospitals, who has been part of the process of performing at least 8,000 scans with the 64 slice CT scanner, is a recent convert to the 320 Slice CT scanner. Dr. Venkataramanan listed the range of anomalies in various portions of the heart that the scanner could reveal in half-a-second. Besides providing a significantly improved image of arteries and veins, the 320 Slice CT scanner throws up in that same half-a-second, accurate images of the valves, the chambers of the heart, its wall and the pericardial sac that surrounds it.

With better quality images, accuracy of diagnosis and guidance for therapy improves substantially, she said. This was true, especially in improving outcomes for stents. The 320 Slice CT scanner is also useful in imaging other parts of the body, including the brain, in the shortest time.

Pratap C. Reddy, chairman, Apollo Hospitals, said the scanner would be a powerful tool in the battle against cardiac disease. Stressing the need to move towards prevention and awareness, he said the machine would reveal the signs of heart disease even before the common risk factors had set in.

The cost, however, puts this “wonder tool” beyond the reach of most Indians. Pegged at Rs. 19,500 per scan per person, it is hardly affordable for the vast majority of the people.

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